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Friday, October 12, 2018

Did You Facebook Me?


(Last year I completed a 3-year qualitative research inductive analysis exploring Facebook and the experiences of 11 counselors who were using Facebook as a platform for communication. Specifically, it answered the question: “What are the experiences of career counselorswho use Facebook for counseling?”.  Here are some of the findings, results and my recent thoughts.)



Is Facebook or Instagram now becoming the norm or our main source of communication and information?  If you answer yes, you are not alone.  Around 68% of American grown-ups say they get news via social media, as indicated by Pew Research Center study.  We can also see a big change on how teens communicate.  About 35% of teens prefers messaging, trailed by face to face at 32 percent. In 2012, face to face (49 percent) topped messaging (33 percent).  Social networking has turned upside down how we communicate, get information, even dating, shopping, and so on. But it has made a hole in doing some of these things.  But what I want to examine is the responses from my last year’s 3-year qualitative research inductive analysis exploring Facebook and the experiences of 11 counselors who were using Facebook as a platform for communication.
As Facebook’s algorithm and settings continuously evolve, further research focusing on using social networking sites and Facebook for career counseling will unexpectedly update my research in 2015. The initial findings from my analysis contingent from the recorded interviews of the 11 career counselors have shown that there is no balanced conclusion or even a model supporting that Facebook or social media is a useful tool for career counseling but a very valid way to communicate and receive information.  Whether or not it is reasonable to use Facebook in mainstream counseling, considering that the privacy issues, timeliness, and effectiveness is beyond the scope of my previous research but I would like to share my thoughts on how Facebook may or may not be valid way on how we communicate in business or personal setting more than telephone, email or face-to-face.  Here is why and how we can do it more effectively:


Be Mobile, Get Fast But Be Alert

One reason why Social Media (in this case Facebook for the Xenials or Generation X - the age median of the study participants) is so effective is because it is mobile, and the technology attached to it (such as WiFi or 5G) is getting faster.   Would we rather make a phone call and get an answering machine not knowing when we will get a response or sometimes we forgot the actual voicemail we left behind?  Unlike in private messages, we can see what we wrote and share a supplemental information that can be referred back again and again during the later conversation.   In my research, one counselor likes the idea of having a supplemental resource and can always get back to his client based at any time of the day that you cannot do it over the phone or even email that is sometimes block with spam.  His advice, use Facebook for expediency or convenience but with caution and still make a phone call and take advantage of the technology.

Follow the Routine and Get in with the New Generation

A second reason why Facebook is so effective is because it may be the preferred method for the New Generation who relies on mobility (powerful phone) and technology (apps and cheaper data signals) that goes with it.  Most of the clients of those 11 counselors I have interviewed (back in 2015) are between the age of 25-40 and most of them are proficient in using smartphone applications including Facebook.  In most cases the clients (or Sailors) contact their counselor using the Private Message and most recently, you can see them post questions on counselor Facebook group page that is usually happening in a face-to-face counseling session such as: “Am I eligible to earn my GI Bill Transfer if I leave the military after 4 years?” that not only gets a faster response but vouch with other counselors for accuracy.  

This is sometimes cannot happen faster or even receive more accurate answers over the phone, email or face-to-face.  But this is not guarantee.  The best way to get a full accurate information is to use the Group Page then also use the Private Message for confirmation and seek outside conversation by phone.  We should ask the preferred communication of the person we are speaking to or how often they uses that medium.

Know Your Settings and Use it Often

Most people I have observed uses Facebook just to scoop information and no interaction.  There is a disadvantage to that if using it as communication tool.  Practice makes perfect and this goes to using for two-way conversation.  Being professional, polite and positive in our comments and postings should not only encourage conversation but lead into positive resolution, as an alternative ways to communicate.    
On my research, a counselor preferred to use email for direction and phone by confirmation but uses a Facebook Counselor group page to communicate with colleagues for advice.  Facebook & other social media such as LinkedIn or Instagram - continues to evolve as tool, one research concluded that the actual potential of any new technology, such as social media, can only be fully actualized in social work if the professionals can take a more hands-on role in both general usage and technology development (Chan &Holosko, 2017).

Other Findings & Final Thoughts

Based on my eleven interviews in 2015 and recent findings from others who had some social media research similar to mine, such as Pedersen,Naranjo, and Marshall (2017) demonstrated that Facebook could be used to communicate, approach and retain a diverse sample of young adult veteran drinkers who could benefit from alcohol intercession efforts.    Drogos’ (2015) research revealed that adolescents who utilize Facebook more frequently have more multifaceted self-concepts than their contemporaries who post fewer status updates; teenagers who posted more pictures had stronger self-concepts than the individuals who displayed fewer photos.  

The number of Facebook consumers has dramatically increased since its inception (Hanna, Kee, & Robertson, 2017). In today’s working environment, with the intention to communicate and reach one another and despite the cynical suspicions, this research suggested that the use of Facebook or social media within the work environment could advance positive forces at work (Hanna et al., 2017).   In my view, Facebook nor any other social media is not yet the main source of how we can talk and listen but social media continues to evolve and should be investigated.   The best way to investigate and be explored is we should use it recurrently but wisely, that means use our Facebook setting accordingly and treat it like how you communicate face-to-face, how you email and how you use your voice telephone.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Culture is not Just a Color: On Culturally Diverse Populations and Cultural Intelligence by Tony Astro

I've written and published this topic about culture back in October 31, 2008 and have updated as I have encountered and learn more about cultural intelligence and how it is more important now than ever before about our perception on Culture and Diversity. Here are my thoughts as a career counselor, business consultant and as entrepreneur.



The United States has diversity that is rich and trans-cultural and results in different attitudes from different aspect and labels: A closet gay Jewish in his 80s, a family woman African American Islam in her 90s, an Indonesian lesbian with dementia on her early 70s and other categories that should be in consideration on how we communicate specifically in counseling or in commerce - but limiting it into those labels may also be detrimental to making adequate analysis of issues and conclusion / solution to how we communicate our message.  Overall human issues must be dealt with including the significant demographic transformation taking place every day not just in the US but around the globe.

The West is beginning to experience significant demographic changes, with substantial cultural consequences. Historically, the aged have made up only a small portion of society, and the rearing of children has been the chief concern. Now children will become a small minority, and society’s central problem will be caring for the elderly. Yet even this assumes that societies consisting of elderly citizens at levels of 20, 30, even 40 or more percent can sustain themselves at all (Kurtz, 2005)

With this new perspective, we will see the children as the new minority; hence a new breed of “younger counselors” will exist. Many ethnically diverse Americans are immersing in so-called “Hollywood culture”. This makes dealing with the younger generation in understanding the older generation’s ethnic diverse culture more challenging.

Hispanics are not culturally heterogeneous; they have a separate culture within their culture (Council, 2001). Generalizing that they rely heavily on their families for long-term and other care may not be right but keeping it in mind that most Hispanics do, it helps. Elderly Mexican Americans have the highest rate of poverty among Hispanic subgroups, while elderly Puerto Ricans report the worst health status (Butler, Lewis, Sunderland, 1998) will help counselors capture the need when counseling an elderly Hispanic.

If in the case of a homosexual 63-year-old Hispanic male, we as a culturally intelligence and effective communicator, counselor or consultant must know his family and how he was treated during the course of his life being a homosexual. Discrimination abuse is most common to many particularly to the Catholic community because of biblical teachings and Hispanics are in general Catholics (Liu, 2014). Counselors and cultural intelligence advocate must be cautious but candid in bringing the issue of religious and family implications of the person or client’s homosexuality.

Another culturally diverse group would be the Japanese. Old age ideally represents a time of relaxation of social obligations, assisting with the family farm or business without carrying the main responsibility, socializing, and receiving respectful care from family and esteem from the community (Dolan, 1994).

Many Americans make generalizations with Asians and do not consider that Asian may consist of Japanese, Filipino, Singaporean and even some Indian (People of India). It is dangerous to limit diverse group into Asian American when this group has different geographical and cultural upbringing and being among them.  As to my experience as a Filipino-Asian-Pacific Islander-Spanish-Ilokano-Manileno American-Christian-Generation X –Straight-Military-Family man, the difference is vast when a cultural intelligent advocate and as a counselor or consultant could dissect further.
Vision loss is among the most frequently reported disabilities affecting older people (Butler, Lewis & Sunderland, 1998). For an 81-year-old blind woman, she is expected to be cared for by the society including sponsored child or government. Due to this slowness in visions, counselors must give importance to lighting and other ways to improve visual difficulty. The common restrictions, stigmatize and the stereotype of blindness is more severe than hearing hence extra caution must be practiced.

It is assumed that older people do not have sexual desires, could not make love even if they want to, too fragile physically and it might hurt them (Sex & Aging, 2018). These suppositions among the elderly make a 71-year-old impotent man comes to counseling with fewer expectations. But according to study, older man does not lose his facility for erection as he ages unless physical illness or emotional anxiety interferes (Butler, Lewis and Sunderland, 1998)


Afterthoughts and Advice
As a consultant and cultural intelligence advocate I recommend that we energize forthright, deferential exchanges about individuals' disparities (cultural differences) with the goal that our client, customers, stakeholders, workers build up a characteristic interest about one another's points of view and thoughts.


On his book Driven by Difference, David Livermore points out that on the off chance that you shun political accuracy, everybody will understand that numerous measurements – parentage (married or single or divorced), race, ethnic beginnings, training, religion, nationality, age associate, et cetera – add to every individual's character.   He offers this following perspective:  “Ideas are the holy grail of innovation. When used with cultural intelligence, a diversity of perspectives almost always trumps individual perspectives when coming up with better ideas.” (Livermore, 2018).


References:

Council, N. R. (2001). America Becoming: Racial Trends and Their Consequences, Volume I. doi: 10.17226/9599
Lewis & Sunderland, 1998) and so counselors must not make the general assumptions as mentioned. Counselors must advise clients to a healthy lifestyle in order to get the goal or proper treatment if necessary for the patients.

Butler, R.N., Lewis, M. and Sunderland, T. (1998). Aging and Mental Health Positive Psychosocial and Biomedical Approaches 4th Edition Macmillan Publishing Company

Dolan, R. E. Dolan, and Worden, R. L., (1994) Japan: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress

Kurtz, S., (2005) February, Journal of Demographics and the Culture War, Policy Review, Hoover Institution.
Liu, J. (2014). The Shifting Religious Identity of Latinos in the United States. Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. Retrieved from http://www.pewforum.org/2014/05/07/the-shifting-religious-identity-of-latinos-in-the-united-states

Livermore, D. (2016). Driven by Difference: How Great Companies Fuel Innovation Through Diversity. AMACOM. Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Driven-Difference-Companies-Innovation-Diversity/dp/0814436536